By César Vallejo 1892–1938 Cesar Vallejo

Translated By Don Paterson Read the translator's notes

I'm sitting here on the old patio
beside your absence. It is a black well.
We'd be playing, now. . . I can hear Mama yell   
"Boys! Calm down!" We'd laugh, and off I'd go   
to hide where you'd never look. . . under the stairs,   
in the hall, the attic. . . Then you'd do the same.
Miguel, we were too good at that game.   
Everything would always end in tears.

No one was laughing on that August night
you went to hide away again, so late
it was almost dawn. But now your brother's through
with this hunting and hunting and never finding you.
The shadows crowd him. Miguel, will you hurry   
and show yourself? Mama will only worry.

Source: Poetry (April 2008).


This poem originally appeared in the April 2008 issue of Poetry magazine

April 2008
 César  Vallejo


Peruvian expatriate César Vallejo was a major poet, known for the authenticity and originality of his work. Deeply rooted in his mixed European and Peruvian Indian heritage, his poetry expressed universal themes related to the human condition. Sometimes called a surrealist poet, “Vallejo created a wrenching poetic language for Spanish that radically altered the shape of its imagery and the nature of its rhythms. No facile trend . . .

Continue reading this biography

Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Living, Relationships, Friends & Enemies

POET’S REGION Latin America

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